3 Ways to Better Screen Your Job Applicants


Making hiring decisions is difficult and time-consuming. These difficulties are only magnified by the fact that approximately 85% of people embellish their experience on their resume.

This makes it essential that you find ways to optimise your candidate screening processes. Especially considering that making a bad hire costs companies approximately $20,000 AUD on average.

Here are three tips and tricks that you can implement immediately to get a better insight into the character and reliability of your applicants.

Be deliberate with your reference checks

Are you still performing reference checks?


If you are, you’re in the majority. Findings from SkillSurvey state 70% of businesses perform reference checks for every job candidate.

But are you getting the most you can out of the process?

In fact, 43% of hiring managers mistakes could have been avoided by performing a more in-depth background check on the applicant.

Companies seldom contact candidates’ listed references until after the interview when they already have an insight into the applicant’s character. If the candidate has impressed you enough to the point that you’re contacting their references, isn’t it likely they’ve selected the people they’re certain will speak positively about them?

So, when you contact your applicant’s referees, avoid open-ended questions such as “Can you tell me about Katie?”. Instead, tailor your questions to the role and individual – describe the position that the applicant is vying for and ask questions from there.

“Can you see Katie performing in this role?”

“How does Katie get along with customers and co-workers?”

If you’re in the 30% who don’t perform reference checks, is that a conscious decision, because your applicants can’t provide local references, or just because you’re time poor?

Reference checks definitely aren’t solely sufficient to supplement an applicant’s resume. What is the point of reliance on scripted, and sometimes biased process to finalise your hiring phase?

Go beyond the candidate’s resume and references

Background checks can provide a valuable insight into your candidate’s history by going beyond their resume and listed references.

Typical background checks usually include information regarding the applicant’s employment, identity, criminal, and credit history. It’s for this reason that 72% of businesses conduct background checks before each new employee is hired.

Companies who perform background checks on prospective employees state that the process allows them to “protect employees and customers, make better hires, and protect the company’s reputation”.

While traditional background checks offer a valuable, quantitative look into the history and credentials of your applicant, they typically struggle to offer a qualitative insight into the areas likely to determine a good cultural fit such as reliability, character, and interpersonal or soft skills.

Search out references from their peers


Maybe you’re searching for your applicant’s profiles on social media sites?

If not, you’re now in the minority. In 2018, a CareerBuilder survey found that approximately 70% of hiring managers research their applicants on social media before making a hiring decision.

Of the companies surveyed, more than half of the respondents stated that they had found content that caused them to avoid hiring certain candidates, with causes including “inappropriate posts about drug and alcohol use” and “discriminatory comments about race, gender and religion.”

Companies didn’t only find reasons not to hire people on social media – 31% of all surveyed hiring managers felt that they had “been able to evaluate a candidates personality as a fit with their company culture.”

However, the practice of social media checks is a contentious issue, with many arguing that it is unethical, and an invasion of privacy. While others believe that the practice is largely redundant as more people elect to tighten their privacy settings, or leave social media all together.

What the CareerBuilder survey doesn’t capture is the subliminal influences that viewing someone’s social media profile has on decision making.

Is scrolling through pictures and posts on an applicant’s Facebook page really letting you evaluate them as a potential candidate? Probably not.

How can you get started with better screening today?

It’s apparent that in order to obtain a clear picture of your applicants, you’re going to need to go beyond the traditional hiring checks. This requires asking specific questions to referees, boosting background checks as well as a paradigm shift to being open to receiving information about your candidates from a range of sources.

JobGetter recently launched a new “Endorsements” feature to make it easier to assess the credibility of a candidate at a glance. By requesting endorsements from their network, JobGetter candidates can crowdsource the first level of reference checks by outsourcing this work to their crowd or network. The more endorsements, the more credible. Plus, you can quickly see who provided the endorsement and what their relationship is to the candidate you’re assessing.

JobGetter has also partnered with Sterling RISQ to provide National Police Checks through a third provider called National Crime Check. This allows Employers to include a police check requirement to their job ads so candidates can click on a link in the job ad to request to have their details checked against a national database. These details are kept confidential and as a part of this process the job seeker can choose to include their police check results with their job applications and share this with potential employers. 

Another innovative Australian company, Reputationaire, allows you to go beyond the information candidates typically provide using blockchain background-check technology. 

Awarded $220k by IBM to support the advancement of their platform, Reputationaire allows you to access applicant authorised information regarding their character and reputation gathered from all over the internet and verified by their friends, acquaintances and peers.

However, this isn’t a service that will scour the internet for negative information about your applicants – instead Reputationaire gives applicant’s the chance to provide information and profiles that supplement their CV.

Your Turn…

What challenges do you face in screening applicants? 


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